Word of the day

May 12, 2014

Sweven – dream, vision.


Tweets of the day

May 12, 2014


Oh When the Cows

May 12, 2014

Most milking sheds have a radio which is usually tuned to a commercial station.

Who knows whether the cows enjoy that music, but these cattle look like they’re enjoying the jazz.

I used cattle rather than cows because I peered closely and am not sure that they’re not steers.

Hat tip: Not PC


Rural round-up

May 12, 2014

Beer cheese ‘natural joint project’ – Rebecca Ryan:

Joining forces to create a beer cheese was a ”natural collaboration” for Oamaru companies Whitestone Cheese and Scotts Brewing Company.

Since January, the businesses have been trialling different recipes and techniques to develop a beer cheese.

The final product, an ”Indian Pale Airedale”, is due to be launched in spring, with manufacturing starting in the next few weeks.

”We’ve just come up with one we’re really pleased with,” Whitestone Cheese chief executive officer Simon Berry said. . .

Meat industry reform and the phony war – Keith Woodford:

The current situation in the meat industry reminds me of two famous phrases from the First and Second World Wars. From the First World War, came the term ’all quiet on the Western Front’. And then early in the Second World War there was the ‘phony war’. Both were periods of quiet while the protagonists geared up for major battles. All parties knew that it was actually the quiet that was phony.

The current situation in the meat industry is similar. Eventually hostilities will inevitably break out as the processing and marketing companies compete with each other for survival. In beef there is scope for most to survive, but in sheep meat there have to be casualties. . . .

Turned on the weather – RivettingKateTaylor:

By the time I arrived home from the Farmer of the Year field day yesterday it was raining, freezing and dark. Just an hour earlier I was standing in the sun in the yard at Drumpeel, partaking of some yummy Silver Fern Farms product, catching up with some of Hawke’s Bay’s rural clan.

About 264 people attended the 2014 Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the Year field day (according to the man counting at the gate!) at the CHB property of Hugh and Sharon Ritchie and their four beautiful children (sorry David, let’s try one handsome son and three beautiful daughters). . .

Kate has more photos of the field day here.

Irrigation agreement signed with ORC – David Bruce:

Otago Regional Council councillors and staff on Thursday saw how the North Otago Irrigation Company and its farmers are managing efficient use of water and flow-on effects before signing an agreement with North Otago irrigation companies and representatives.

Cropping and dairy support farmer Peter Mitchell with the help of the company’s environmental manager Jodi Leckie, explained how variable rate irrigation and close monitoring of soil needs helped both the farmer and the environment on a Fortification Rd property.

The Memorandum of Agreement is with North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC), the Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company (LWIC), and the Waitaki Irrigators’ Collective Ltd and concerns implementation of the council’s Regional Plan: Water for Otago Plan Change 6A. . .

 

Great conditions for olives this season:

The olive harvest is off to a good start with the hot dry summer combining with the industry’s maturing trees to provide lots of high quality fruit.

Olives New Zealand president Andrew Taylor said the harvest began in the far North in late March and will finish up in Canterbury in July.

He said it was the second consecutive summer that the industry had had ideal weather conditions for growing olives, which had led to excellent fruit quality, and the odds of great oil were high. . .

Sustainable piggeries in American Samoa preventing contamination:

Farmers in American Samoa have been told to avoid using water to clean out their piggeries in a move to avoid contamination.

Almost 100 farmers were schooled last week on environmentally-friendly ‘dry-litter’ piggeries, that use woodchips instead of water to deal with waste, which then provides composting options for crops.

The chief piggery compliance officer, Antonina Te’o, says wash-down systems can cause land and water pollution and allow waste material to infiltrate the drinking water supply. . . .

 


Taxpayer funding would weaken democracy

May 12, 2014

The Taxpayers’ Union is unimpressed by Labour’s suggestion we all fund them:

“Taxing New Zealanders to subsidise political parties would weaken our democracy,” says Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union.

The Union is hitting back at Labour Party leader David Cunliffe’s suggestion that it’s time to consider publicly-funded elections.

“Suggesting that tax dollars from those who don’t support political parties should be used to promote them is outrageous,” says Mr Williams.

“Mr Cunliffe argues that public funding of political parties is about ‘fairness’. But democracy is about accountability. Even if it was about fairness, how is it fair to tax Kiwis to fund Mr Cunliffe’s, or anyone else’s, political efforts?”

“Politicians having to justify their work to supporters, members, and donors is healthy. Public funding would give a huge advantage to the established political parties. It professionalises politics and stamps on the grass roots.”

“The vast majority of donations made to political parties are small. That is a good thing. It means politicians and party bosses are accountable to many.”

Politicians are accountable to all of us to make the best use of our money and to take as little of it as possible to do what most needs to be done.

Needs include healthcare, education, law and order, infrastructure, welfare and the sound economic management required to ensure they are affordable.

State funding of political parties isn’t a need.

It’s a want by those parties which can’t persuade enough people to voluntarily support them.


Right of reply

May 12, 2014

Fish and Game asked for right of reply to this post on farmers’ providing ammo for opponents.

I am happy to do so, here it is unedited:

James Houghton of Federated Farmers asks why farmers should buy licences to hunt ducks.  The simple answer is that under the law, the vast majority of farmers don’t need a game licence to hunt on their own land – a truth conveniently overlooked by Mr Houghton.

He also criticises Fish & Game very unfairly over our efforts to create new wetlands or enhance existing ones. We make no apologies for this; Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game owns over 1650 hectares of wetland in the Waikato, purchased using licence income. We currently have 19 wetland restoration or construction projects underway in the Waikato, the majority on private land, working with landowners. We also advocate actively and strongly for wetlands through the RMA process and will continue to do so.

Wetlands are important for waterfowl, both native and introduced. They are also critical habitats for several native fish species.  But surely as an advocate for the farming community, Houghton must be well aware of the role that wetlands play in enhancing water quality?

Instead of attacking the messenger, Houghton should be asking himself why water quality in the Waikato is still declining, and why the largest lake in the lower Waikato, Lake Waikare, is bright red from algal blooms.

After giving this some thought, he would do well to consider (as more thoughtful and forward looking members of the farming community already have), whether creating wetlands is one of the best solutions.

Ben Wilson

Chief Executive Fish & Game Auckland/Waikato Region

Paranormal pointed out, in a comment on the original post, as the letter above does, that farmers don’t need licences to shoot ducks on their own land.

That, is correct but not all farms have waterways and ponds, a lot of farmers shoot on other peoples’ land.

 


Leaked flood report hints at big problem

May 12, 2014

Labour leader David Cunliffe wrote an open letter to Prime Minister John Key about the Christchurch floods.

A council report on the issue is due to be released today.

At the weekend’s National Party Mainland conference Christchurch Earthquake recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said Cunliffe’s letter appeared to show he knew something about the contents of the report which could suggest he’d seen it although the government and those affected by the flooding hadn’t.

The Minister said that hints at a big problem.

That problem would be that someone with access to the report is playing politics with a very serious issue  and demonstrating a greater loyalty to the Labour Party than the city.

The Minister was careful to say it could suggest.

He was right to be cautious. After all the letter could have been written without any knowledge of the report.

Coincidences do happen and that would be much better for Christchurch than the alternative divided loyalties anywhere in the council.

 


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